As Asia booms, what is cost of success for its young

By Saira Syed

On a Saturday night in Singapore, Nicol and his friends are dancing in a dark and crowded room at one of the most expensive new clubs in the city.

As the music reaches a crescendo, the 25-year-old management consultant pumps his fists in the air.

For Nicol and others like him partying across the city and the region, it would seem that there has never been a better time to be young and in Asia.

Instead of the economic problems and social issues that faced their parents' and grandparents' generations, Asia's youth today have a chance to access a period of unprecedented prosperity and expansion.

"There are only some pockets of growth left in the world and Asia happens to be one of them," Nicol explains from the comfort of a table where patrons need to spend a minimum of 1,500 Singapore dollars ($1,183; £738) if they want to use it.

"There's opportunity and optimism out here. People are thinking big."

The figures would seem to back up this optimism.

Increased prosperity

Economic growth in East and South Asia is seen running at close to 7% over the next year, according to a United Nations (UN) report on economic prospects.

That easily outstrips the slower expansion expected in debt- and recession-hit Europe and US.

At the same time, for hundreds of millions of people across the region, their earning power and standard of living are increasing.

Wages rose by 8% across Asia in 2009, mostly driven by China, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

That compares with 0.6% growth in more developed countries during the same period.

The youth unemployment rate, meanwhile, has been below 15% in most of the region for the last five years.

Compare that with figures of more than 30% in European economies such as Italy and Spain, and it is clear that more young people in Asia are getting greater opportunities to work.

"There's been increasing prosperity," says Marco Roncarati of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

"If you look at the last 20 to 30 years, we see that aggregate levels of development have improved."

TOC thanks Saira Syed for the contribution, view full article on BBC News here.